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Re: st: Errors "out of range" for a simple Mata function

From   Nick Cox <>
Subject   Re: st: Errors "out of range" for a simple Mata function
Date   Tue, 20 Nov 2012 10:26:50 +0000

Thanks for the correction. The word "wrong" was itself wrong. I was
elevating my personal preference only to use views for data Ithat I
won't change to an implication that you can't do it, which was


local macro generate
local macro varlist
local macro touse

as discussed to date in the thread

. mata : st_store(., "`generate'", "``touse''", rowsum(st_data(.,
tokens("`varlist'"), "``touse''")))

is I think a complete solution. However, I'd sympathise with anyone
who thought that overvalues conciseness. Also, using Mata as a
calculator in this way undermines Ly Tran's major purpose of using the
row sum problem as a vehicle for learning Mata.


On Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 2:01 AM, Christopher Baum <> wrote:

> Ly Tran:
> Nick Cox is correct in pointing out that you need to pass `generate' to your Mata function. But it is not necessary to use st_store() as he suggests. Your Mata code works with one small change:
> capture program drop testsum
> program testsum, rclass
> syntax varlist(numeric) [if] [in], GENerate(string) [FLOAT]
> qui generate `float' `generate' = .
> mata: tsum( "`varlist'", "`generate'")
> end
> mata
> void function tsum (string scalar varlist, string scalar newvar)
> {
> real matrix X, Z
> st_view(X = .,., tokens(varlist))
> st_view(Z =., ., newvar)
> Z[.,.] = rowsum(X)
> }
> end
> When an entire view matrix is the LHS of a statement, you must use the syntax shown, rather than the name of the view matrix, for the statement to update the view matrix (and the Stata variable(s)) and not create a new Mata object. In the help for st_view(), read the section "Cautions when using views 2:  Assignment" to see this point illustrated. It is also mentioned in the Mata chapter of ITSP below.
> . sysuse auto,clear
> (1978 Automobile Data)
> . testsum price mpg turn, gen(junk)
> . egen junk2=rowtotal(price mpg turn)
> . su junk*
>     Variable |       Obs        Mean    Std. Dev.       Min        Max
> -------------+--------------------------------------------------------
>         junk |        74    6226.203    2948.149       3354      15972
>        junk2 |        74    6226.203    2948.149       3354      15972
> One other thing: if you allow [if] and [in] in your ado-file, you should -marksample touse- and pass `touse' to Mata so that it can limit the observations being used in the Mata routine. Again, example code in ITSP.

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